Officer Hurt Capturing Early GOP Protesters
TATIANA DELIGIANNAKIS, PHILIP MESSING and DAN MANGAN
Coutesy of New York Post
August 27, 2004 -- Four activists who hung a huge banner on the front of the swanky Plaza hotel yesterday in an early protest of the Republican National Convention face up to 25 years in prison because a cop was severely hurt during the quartet's roundup.
Two of the protesters from a group they called Operation Sibyl rappelled down the facade of The Plaza around 8 a.m. using grappling hooks, ropes and other climbing gear to drape the sign. It featured an arrow labeled "Truth" pointing one way, and an arrow labeled "Bush" in the opposite direction.
The two other activists assisted their cohorts from the roof of the hotel at Fifth Avenue and Central Park South, and where they had checked in as guests the night before.
"George Bush is deceiving the American public, not just about Iraq, but also about the economy," said the group's spokesman, Evan Thies, 24.
Thies said gawkers on the street below burst into applause when they saw what the sign said. The banner stayed up on the hotel for just over a half-hour until cops took the activists into custody.
One of those cops, seven-year veteran Sgt. Joseph Diaz, cut open his leg when he fell through a skylight on the roof, and required 38 stitches when he was treated at Bellevue Hospital, according to police.
Thies, who is also communications director for city Councilman David Yassky, said one of the activists had warned the sergeant not to remain on the skylight because it was cracked, but claimed Diaz ignored the warning. "The last thing we wanted to have happen is anyone to get hurt," said Thies.
Because of Diaz's injury, the four activists who hung the sign were charged with first-degree assault - which carries a maximum prison sentence of 25 years - as well as reckless endangerment, criminal trespass, conducting an unlawful street show, unlawful posting of an advertisement, and failing to obtain a license to hang a sign larger than 75 feet.
Arrested were Terra Lawson-Rember, 26, of Manhattan, and Rebecca Johnson, 25, of Oakland, Calif., who were both on the roof during the stunt, and the two rappellers, David Murphy, 31, of Brooklyn, and 28-year-old Pablo-Cesar Maxit of Dallas.
Robert Mlandinich, a spokesman for the Sergeants' Benevolent Association, blasted Thies for his role as spokesman for the group, saying "this man is representing an organization that is conducting illegal actions, and in this particular case it led to violence."
"Anybody involved in city government or on the city payroll should not be involved in activities that put the public or law enforcement personnel in harm's way."
Thies' boss Yassky, a Democrat from Brooklyn, said that he knew his spokesman was taking time off for a protest, but did not know exactly what he was doing. Yassky declined to comment further.
About noon yesterday, 12 people from the AIDS activist group ACT-UP marched down Eighth Avenue to 33rd Street - across from Madison Square Garden, where the convention will be held - and stripped off their clothes to protest Bush administration policies.
"Bush stop AIDS, drop the debt now!" chanted the nude men and women, who called on the president to forgive all debt owed by Third World countries so they can devote resources to fighting AIDS.
"You have to resort to this," said Sharon Lynch, 35, one of the protesters, whose display blocked traffic for about 15 minutes before cops moved in and arrested nine of the demonstrators.
Two other clothed members of ACT-UP were busted after they hung an anti-Bush sign on a trailer at the intersection.
Also yesterday, a veteran Bronx community activist was arrested on contempt of court charges yesterday for refusing to vacate an abandoned building he's lived in as a squatter for 25 years.
The man, Rafael Bueno, of East 136th Street in Mott Haven, came under scrutiny this month when it was learned he had invited anti-Bush protesters from all over the country to crash at his building.
Last week, Bronx Supreme Court Justice Patricia Williams ordered Bueno out of the building. But yesterday, the judge ordered Bueno to jail when she learned that not only was he still living there, but 40 protesters were too.
Additional reporting by Joe McGurk and Stephanie Gaskell
Huh? Clumsey Sgt falls through a sky light so they charge the vandals? Is that some weird twist on the felony murder doctrine?
Those fuck tards are now facing major jail time. Thats some funny shit excludling the cop getting hurt
While I think what those protestors did was stupid and foolish and the perps should have the book thrown at them, felony assault shouldn't be one of the charges. I seriously doubt it will stick if any of the protestors have a decent lawyer.
Seriously though, those AIDS protestors can shove it. Bush has given TONS of money for research and aid to AIDS "victums." AIDS is all but cured in the western world (whether or not drug companies are actually LOOKING for a cure instead of a treatment is another discusion), and it's time to fund research for cancers, Alzheimer's, and other dieases that affect large portions of the population.
Funny, how the fuck did the cop fall through a skylight haha. Could he not see it?
Yeah assualt is bullshit, if I am speeding and pull over then the cops ends of running into me and gets hurt do I get charged with destruction of propert plus assualt because he hit his head?
No, you get charged with POP, pissing off the police. The most serious charge possible. Bend over.
"You are being charged with being ugly in a no ugly zone."
(one hour later)
"You are being charged with creeping with intent to crawl"
"You have resisted arrest three times now. Would you like to call your attorney?"
Some might call you a smack-tard.
I would call you nothing at all.